The Haven
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The Haven

How My 6-Year-Old Daughter Opens Gifts, Makes Me Worry About Her Future Husband

Jeremy McKnight via Unsplash

Nobody told me raising children would be this hard. But here I am, Christmas day, thrusted into a feeling of self-loathing and state of failure by my 6-year-old little girl.

I’ll explain how I got here, bear with me.

Whether it’s a birthday or Christmas, we designed procedures on how our family opens presents. I know, its sounds overly industrious, but there’s a method to the madness.

When our children open gifts, they are front and center while the rest of the family gives them their undivided attention — it’s their time to shine. Once they are done opening each gift, they thank whomever gave them the gift. The intention is two-fold, it offers the gift-giver a serving of gratitude, and the receiver a serving of love through gift-giving. All parties feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Now, I have three boys and one girl ranging from 14 to 6 — the girl is the youngest. This strategy has seemed to foster, at least, a small semblance of gratitude for things they receive in this world. They seem “kind of” appreciative of the thought that goes into thinking of others. This is all with the understanding that they’re just kids, so we manage our expectations.

Then, there is my 6-year-old daughter.

I’m not sure where we went wrong with this one, or if its just a girl thing. She’s ravenous when it comes to gifts. Hell, when it comes to any of her property. From her toys, clothes, or Halloween Candy. She has no problem destroying someone’s life to preserve her property.

Oh, by the way, possession is ten-tenths of the law.

I’m not sure how many Star Wars Legos has entered the abyss that is her room. She doesn’t even like Star Wars. But, once it wonders into the abyss, it stays there forever — it becomes her property. At this point her brothers don’t bother entering her room to get their stuff back anymore. The wrath that awaits them is too much to endure.

I’ve literally observed her beat her 14-year-old brother’s ass on a couple of occasions. When he came to us tattling on his 6-year-old sister for “hitting” him, I just had to feel sorry for the guy. The psychological dominance it takes to overcome someone three-times her size is something to behold.

Maybe it’s because she’s the youngest and has fought for everything she’s got. Being the youngest isn’t exactly the easiest. It makes sense…hording possessions because you never know when you will have to fight off your bigger brothers.

The first sign of this indelible need to accumulate toys, clothes, accessories, or other “resources” that feeds her 6-year-old appetite was right before her 6th birthday.

I had to run to the store to get some batteries for one of the gifts we got for her. Of course, she wanted to come along. I was going to the store — she doesn’t miss a chance to go to the store where she can acquire more 6-year-old “resources.”

I decided to stop at Dairy Queen on the way to grab an ice cream for us. Sometimes, I think these little treats that are shared among just us, makes her feel special. I think it’s important to share “moments” with each of your kids. It’s even more important for larger families when some of the kids feel lost in the chaos of everyday life. It’s hard to give kids your undivided attention sometimes, and they need that.

I got her an ice cream and told her, “Don’t tell your brothers, it will be our little secret.” She leaned in and whispered to me, “I’ll keep it quiet if you give me money.”

She was 5 years old at the time. Where did she learn this?

MY GOD. It was at that moment I began to dread her teenage years. Is this a concern for all fathers of little girls?

Our little trip to Dairy Queen wasn’t the only time her actions seemed to foreshadow things to come.

As mentioned earlier, we opened presents according to our family procedures and guidelines. Except this year, we decided to start with the oldest child instead of the youngest. As soon as she discovered she wouldn't be the first to open presents (We usually have the youngest open presents first), she gave us the most evil of stares. I felt the scorn. I felt the anger. She touched my soul in ways you cant imagine.

One by one, each boy opened their presents, thanked us, and neatly place their gift wrapping in the trash bags provided.

Then it was our daughter’s turn.

I liken the gift opening incident to a fresh kill among a pride of lions, except she was the dominant lioness. She demolished the gift wrapping to reveal her gift. After each gift, she spared any pleasantries to quickly move on to the next. Each preceding gift was pushed aside like an afterthought in anticipation for the next. I could see the futility in my wife’s eyes. All that time spent neatly wrapping all the gifts with care…well see how long that lasts over the next several years.

During this gift opening frenzy, her back stayed facing the family with her attention focused on the task at hand — opening the next gift.

It was a sight to behold.

This was another moment I came to a realization. I feel sorry for her future husband. Poor guy. I just want him to know, I’m trying. Instilling a sense of gratitude in 6-year-old little girls is going to be a tall task.

After she was done opening her presents, we asked her, “What do you say?

She replied with, “Oh, thank you.” After saying thank you, she gave us hugs and kisses. She then took all her toys to the abyss.

The hugs and kisses makes up for it all. Maybe we are making progress.



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Trevor Woods

I’m a Father, Husband, and Veteran. I write about Personal Growth, Mental Health, and Careers!